The Role of the Manager in an Agile Organization : A Case Study at Scania AB

University essay from KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.); KTH/Industriell ekonomi och organisation (Inst.)

Abstract: As the world of business changes at a pace higher than ever before, there is an increased need for organizations to rapidly adapt and respond to these internal and external changes, whether they are technological, political, social or environmental. In management, agility is a term frequently used today in response to this new business environment, which often includes the use of agile methodologies for product development. As organizations adopt agile methodologies, old traditional management and leadership models fade. This void is being filled by new and emerging agile leadership models. Additionally, self-organizing and cross-functional teams become key concepts. All these transformations are bound to culminate in a considerable alteration in the role of the manager. This study examines the new role of the manager in an organization transitioning to agile. To answer the research questions, changes in the key work activities of the manager were evaluated, as well as how changes in interplay and interaction between the manager and the group could affect the role. Furthermore, the aim was also to identify some of the main challenges and barriers that arise. This was studied qualitatively through a literature review. Also, a case study was conducted at the software development department at Scania AB, where ten managers and one employee was interviewed. A survey was also sent out to the group members at this department, with 150 respondents. Findings indicated that most work activities did not change. Some of them changed in character due to introducing an agile method and due to internal, structural changes. In one case, the work focus shifted from one activity to another. In the interplay with the group, the manager now has new roles to consider, while his role becomes more of an empowerer and meets new leadership models. With this organizational change, there are also new opportunities of delegating work activities to a higher extent. The main challenges that were identified regarded communication and coordination, control, and mastering agile methods.

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